Corruption of Govt in Bangladesh: An Overview

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Bangladesh is a country located in South Asia. It ranks eighth among the most populous countries in the world (World Bank, 2013). Transparency International, a global organization created to fight corruption, identifies Bangladesh as one of the most corrupt countries in Asia (2014). Historical Background of Bangladesh has a rich background with its neighboring country India since they form the Bengal Region. In the 12th century, Islam reached the country through Muslim traders and Muslim missionaries called “Sufis”(Bhutto, 2006). The spread of Islam intensified when Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji, a Muslim Turk, took over most parts of the Bengal Region (Yaqub Ali). European countries such as Portugal, Denmark, France and Great Britain were able to reach Bengal starts in the late 15th century. British rule of Bengal commenced at mid 18th century until the 20th century. In 1905, Bengal was divided into two parts (Hindu-west and Islam-east), thus the emergence of Pakistan. Differences emerged between the two factions led to the Bangladesh Liberation War in March of 1971 and to its independence from Pakistan in December 1971. There were several military coups between 1975 and 1990 that resulted to two assassinations of their heads of state in 1975 and 1981 respectively. (BBC News) Bangladesh has embraced democracy since 1991 (Barman et al).

Bangladesh is a unitary that adopted the parliamentary form of government in 1972. Due to change in regime, it was changed to presidential form in 1975 and was reverted back to parliament in 1991. Political corruption in Bangladesh is rampant. Citizens perceive the political parties (62%) and the Parliament itself (40%) to be the most corrupt institutions of their country (Transparency International, 2011). The country’s main political parties lack an internal governance framework, internal democracy and transparency (Wickberg, 2012). A report in 2011 by U4, an anti-corruption resource center, points out that there is a lack of checks and balances for the party head who has the sole control of nominations and finance decisions (Hechler, 2011). The dominating parties are characterized by political dynasties of the few families (Bertelsmann Foundation, 2012). Although their electoral law provides a quality process for nominations of candidates for national elections, the main parties’ system of selections tends to favor candidates who have most contributed to the party financially (Bertelsmann Foundation, 2012). The executive branch has superb influence over the parliament (Hechler, 2011) and its legislative accountability is believed to be very weak (Global Integrity, 2010). Bangladesh is an electoral democracy and it adopted universal suffrage and the right to campaign. Its Electoral Commission is the one who ensures democratic and free elections. The commission underwent several noteworthy reforms and it operates outside government’s control. The results can be appealed through the judiciary by the candidates. However, the process tends to be slow (Global Integrity, 2010). Experts find out that there were instances of vote buying and undue influence at the local level (Hechler, 2011) Grand Corruption Corruption often occurs in the awarding of contract to private firms. A World Bank survey in 2007 shows that one fourth of private companies believe that they are expected to offer rewards just to secure a government contract. A half of those firms consider corruption to be a major hurdle in doing business. The process of bidding is often influenced by political networks and associations despite the formation of an electronic procurement system and the Public Procurement Act (Global Integrity, 2010). The most infamous corruption scandal was the construction of a World bank funded 6km-long bridge in 2012. This involved top officials of Bangladesh and two Canadian engineering company executives. This incident made the World Bank and Asian Development Bank cancel the $1.2 billion loan to Bangladesh (The Guardian, 2012).

Police Corruption is rampant and presents to be a serious problem in Bangladesh. 82% of citizens who have been connected once with the police see them as the most corrupt in the country while 84% of the respondents have paid bribes for the past year (Transparency International, 2011). Construction Bribery is the most common pattern of corruption in the construction industry. The causes of bribery are poor advertising and specifications, removal of selection criteria in public, negotiations with the bidders (Mahmood, 2010) List of References Barman, Dalem, Golam Rahman, & Tasneem Siddiqui. Democarcy Report for Bangladesh Bertelsmann Foundation. Bangladesh country report (2012) Bhutto, Masood. Sufis and the spread of Islam (2006). Academy of the Punjab in North America. Global Integrity. Global Integrity Report (2010) Hechler Hannes. Bangaldesh, a political economy analysis of UNCAC implementation in Bangaldesh (2011), U4 Report Can UNCAC address grand corruption? Mahmood Shakeel. Public procurement and corruption in Bangladesh confronting the challenges and opportunities (2010), American Society of Public Administration Rahman, Waliur. Bangladesh tops most corrupt list (2005). BBC News The Guardian. Bangladesh weighs options after World Bank pulls out of Padma bridge project (2012), Transparency International. Global Corruption Barometer (2011) World Bank/IFC. Enterprise survey (2007), 07/bangladesh#corruption

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